Common Causes of Truck Accidents

When you file a claim after a truck accident, you will need to provide evidence of what caused your accident. Determining causation is essential to proving the truck carrier or other party is liable for the accident and your damages. Whatever the type of truck accident in which you were involved, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help you collect evidence to establish the cause of your accident and recover compensation.

Truck Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study and found that driver behavior behind the wheel caused 87 percent of large truck accidents during a 33-month period. The FMCSA broke down these driver behaviors into four main categories:

Decision (38 Percent)

The truck driver’s poor decision-making behind the wheel caused the largest percentage of accidents. This includes driving too fast for the conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles on the road, and following other vehicles too closely. The FMCSA found that speeding played a role in nearly 25 percent of all truck accidents.

Recognition (28 Percent)

Inattention, distracted driving, and otherwise failing to observe the roadway can leave drivers unable to recognize hazards on the roadway, leading to a serious accident.

Non-performance (12 Percent)

This category involves drivers who fell asleep at the wheel, experienced a heart attack or seizure, or were otherwise physically impaired.

Driver fatigue, which caused at least 13 percent of truck accidents according to the FMCSA, may be a risk for truck drivers who travel for extended periods without a break. The federal hours of service rules limit how long a driver can drive without rest, and require drivers to track their driving and rest hours via logbooks.

Performance (9 Percent)

Drivers in this category made mistakes relating to how they operated their vehicle. These mistakes include overcompensating and exercising poor directional control.

Truck Accidents Caused by Truck Carrier Negligence

Poorly Trained Drivers

Trucks require more skill and knowledge to operate than passenger vehicles. In many cases, truck companies fail to train their drivers on how to properly operate their vehicles, thereby making it more likely for them to make a mistake.

Hiring Unqualified Drivers

Truck carriers have an obligation to assess the qualifications of drivers before hiring them. Carriers that fail to fully assess a driver’s qualifications could be putting an unqualified driver behind the wheel of a large 18-wheeler.

Poorly Maintained Trucks

Truck carriers must inspect their vehicles regularly and perform regular maintenance. They must also perform competent repairs when necessary. Failure to do so puts a defective truck on the road that could cause an severe accident.

Truck Accidents Caused by Mechanical Defects

Equipment Failure or Malfunction

Tire blowouts, defective brakes, and other vehicle problems may cause devastating accidents. If any part of the large truck malfunctions, the truck may swerve and collide with another vehicle on the road. A manufacturer may be liable if the vehicle or vehicle component is defective, though the truck carrier could also be liable for failing to maintain the vehicle or perform regular maintenance.

Overloaded Trailers

Trucking companies may overload trailers to transport their goods more efficiently. However, overloading a trailer beyond its capacity may make it more difficult to brake or safely execute a turn.

Poorly Secured Cargo

Failure to secure cargo could lead it to shift during transport, which affects the weight distribution in the trailer and could increase the risk of a rollover especially when executing a turn. Further, failure to secure cargo could increase the risk of a cargo spill in the event of a wreck, which creates additional hazards on the roadway.

Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. After a Truck Wreck

If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a truck accident, our team could help demystify the claims process and advise you how to proceed and pursue compensation for damages from the responsible party or parties. To discuss your legal options, call 404-474-0804.